Stories you might have missed this week

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We've got a reminder for you and some stories from the week that you might have missed.

Tampa Conference Registration and Housing opens May 14, 11 am sharp EST | The more economical hotels fill up fast: Our conference partner ASA has moved the opening of the registration and housing signup about five weeks earlier than originally scheduled: please register at and book your hotel at Both open at 11am EDT on Tuesday, May 14.

Dr Corina Sandu honored by the SAE | We are pleased to share news of Dr. Corina Sandu, an editor of our Journal of Terramechanics and who so ably coordinated our 17th International Conference. She was presented with two awards by the Society of Automotive Engineers at the SAE 2013 World Congress: * The Forest R. McFarland Award, which "recognizes individuals for their outstanding contributions toward the work of the SAE Engineering Meetings Board." * The Rodica Baranescu Award for Technical & Leadership Excellence in Commercial Vehicle Engineering "celebrates the successes of women in the engineering profession and to recognize their leadership and technical contributions in the Commercial Vehicle Engineering sector."

Dr. Sandu is an Associate Professor at Virginia Tech. She also currently leads an ARC research project ( involving off-road soft-soil tire model development.

Mars rover update (  After a month of silence while Mars was on the far side of the sun from the earth, NASA has reestablished its link with the Curiosity and Opportunity rovers and is getting ready to resume science operations on Mars.

Morphological Mars Mystery (  This image in the Wired Space Photo of the Day series covers shallow irregular pits with raised rims, concentrated along ridges and other topographic features: how did these odd features form?

Opportunity to meet with some of the great hardware hackers of our age (  May 14-15, Make magazine hosts its second annual Hardware Innovation Workshop in San Mateo, CA. via BoingBoing (

Trailer for Antarctica: A Year on Ice (  For all our snow researchers, this trailer for an upcoming documentary isn't to be missed. Make sure you watch for the special moment at the end! via BoingBoing (

MIT course spends spring break visiting mines of the American Southwest (  Rockwood Lithium mine, Searles Valley Minerals Trona Facility, Rio Tinto borax mine, Oceanview Pegmatite Mine and Simplot silica mine. Slideshow.

Using lasers to read the road ahead (  The Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques updated the Pavement Profile Scanner (PPS): as small as a shoebox, reads the surface of the road at 62 mph, and accurate to between 0.15 and 0.3 millimeters. Using data scanned from the road ahead, suspension can be dynamically adapted, making the ride stiffer or softer. So far, it's in Mercedes’ only, apparently.

Amazing: learn the Google search tips of the NSA (  A Freedom of Information Act request has brought to light a book published by the U.S. National Security Agency as a guide for it's own spies to uncoer intelligence hiding on the web. via

Legged leaping (  Parkour robot leaps ledges in a single bound. UPenn researchers presented their acrobatic X-RHex-Light robot at a IEEE conference in Germany this week. Video.

Baxter: a robot designed for researchers (  Previously aimed at industrial applications, Baxter's maker Rethink is releasing Baxter Research Robot: two arms powered by series elastic actuators, integrated cameras and sonar, torque sensors on every joint, and a open source SDK layer. via IEEE.

Incredible pictures of early science labs (  Maybe you'll get some ideas for renovations to your own lab here: vintage science labs, from the Renaissance to Pasteur and Edison and ENIAC. via BoingBoing (

Our best wishes for a productive week. Please send any news, comments, and pictures of your lab to (


ISTVS 7th Americas Regional Conference, Nov 4-7, 2013, Tampa, Florida Strict deadline: May 14 Submit Abstract (

** Technical Committee

Prof. Schalk Els Ms. Heidi Howard Soil and terrain modeling and characterization | Track 1

Dr. Lutz Richter Mr. Jeff Durst Planetary rovers and mobile robotics | Track 2

Prof. Paul Ayers Prof. Corina Sandu Mr. Jody Priddy Tires, wheels, and tracks modeling | Track 3

Dr. George Mason Dr. Lal Kushwaha Agricultural and earthmoving equipment | Track 4

Dr. Sally Shoop Mr. Timothy Cary Operation on soils, vegetation, snow, and ice | Track 5

Mr. Randy Jones Mr. Daniel Koch Dr. Paramsothy Jayakumar Vehicle dynamics, mobility, and safety | Track 6

Mr. Niels Svendsen Ms. Pat Sullivan Ms. Stephanie Robert Terramechanics | Track 7 International Society for Terrain-Vehicle Systems

Dr. Lutz Richter General Secretary

Dr. Sally Shoop President

Dr. Peter Kiss Vice President

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